Car Found in Missing Kansas Student Case

Kansas cops seek boyfriend-girlfriend pair for questioning about Emily Sander.


Nov. 27, 2007— -- A car police believe was used by a 24-year-old man wanted in the disappearance of a Kansas student was found late Tuesday, hundreds of miles from where the suspect was last seen.

Police said there was no sign of the suspect or 18-year-old Emily Sander, a student at Butler Community College in El Dorado last seen Friday. Police say they fear Sander may have been the victim of a violent crime inside a local motel room.

Sander was last seen leaving the Retreat Bar in El Dorado, Kan., with Israel G. Mireles, a 24-year-old man police are calling a suspect in Sander's disappearance.

"We don't have a body, and we don't know where Emily Sander is," Capt. Justin Phillips of the El Dorado Police Department told ABC News.

The Ford Taurus rental car Mireles was believed to be driving, was found Tuesday in Vernon, Texas, about 350 miles southwest of El Dorado, El Dorado Deputy Police Chief Rick Kennedy, told The Associated Press late Tuesday night. Authorities want to question Mireles and his 16-year-old girlfriend, Victoria Martens, about the Sander's disappearance.

On Saturday -- the same day Sander's mother reported her missing -- managers at the El Dorado motel, less than a mile from the bar and Mireles' temporary home, contacted police to report that a possible altercation had taken place inside Mireles' room.

"We have found some evidence that Emily may have been the victim of a violent crime," Phillips said. "They are still processing that and have been for the last two days."

Authorities believe Mireles and Martens could be making a run for the border. "We have some indication that they are attempting to cross into Mexico," he said. "At this point, it's possible, but we don't believe Emily is with them."

Several eyewitnesses reported seeing Mireles, who has a "minor" criminal record, and Sander spending time together and then leaving the bar Friday night, but Phillips would not say conclusively that she left with him voluntarily. Sander's car was found parked at the bar Saturday.

Authorities said they do not believe Martens was in the hotel room with Mireles and Sanders when their altercation took place.

At a televised press conference Monday afternoon, Sander's grandfather, Clement Sanders, appealed to the public for help in finding his granddaughter.

"She was a sweet little girl, and she's done real good in school," Clement said. "She had a lot of friends and was easy to get along with."

"Help us find Emily," he said. "We need closure on this one way or another."

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